Doordarshan has not been able to send a correspondent to the war zone yet, even as most private news channels of the country have registered their presence at the Afghan border. DD is still caught in the process of getting bureaucratic clearances for sending its teams to the war region. The various destinations that DD is eyeing to send its teams include Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and even Iran.
But according to DD source that it being a public service broadcaster, all its teams need to be cleared by the Ministry of External Affairs. And this clearance is a lengthy process.
DD is trying to get clearances for all the countries—Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran—simultaneously, so that there’s no hurdle at a later stage. While it’s a tough procedure for the official press, things are somewhat simpler for private channels.
According to industry sources Prasar Bharati has immediate plans of sending All India Radio’s Dubai-based correspondent Ramji Tripathi to Uzbekistan to cover the war. Under the DD-AIR synergy arrangement, whereby resources of the two organizations are to be shared for cost-effectiveness, this AIR correspondent will give phonos to DD as well. Since there’s no cameraman with this correspondent, DD will continue to depend on visuals sourced from CNN or other agencies.
As for the status of sending its own teams, DD officials don’t know as to when they can take off for the war zone.
The process of government clearances and visas began around two weeks ago for DD, and it’s not over yet. The only saving grace for DD seems to be President Bush’s statement that it’s going to be a long war.